Walter Mignolo

William H. Wannamaker Professor of Romance Studies in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

External address: 
125B Friedl Building, Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, Durham, NC 27708-0413
(919) 668-1949
Office Hours: 
Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment (between 1pm and 3 pm)


Mignolo’s research and teaching have been devoted, in the past 30 years, to understanding and unraveling the historical foundation of the modern/colonial world system and imaginary since 1500. In his research, modern/colonial world system and imaginary is tantamount with the historical foundation of Western Civilization and its expansion around the globe. His research stands on four basic premises: a) the there is no world-system before 1500 and the integration of America in the Western Christian (European) imaginary; b) that the world-system generated the idea of “newness” (the New World) and of modernity and c) that there is no modernity without coloniality—coloniality is constitutive no derivative of modernity; d) the modern/colonial imaginary was mounted and maintained on the invention of the Human and Humanity that provided the point of reference for the invention of racism and sexism together with the invention of nature.

Briefly stated, Mignolo’s research has been and continues to be devoted to exposing modernity/coloniality as a machine that generates and maintains un-justices and to exploring decolonial ways of delinking from the modernity/coloniality. Because the political dimension of his work, in the past fifteenth years Mignolo’s energy has been increasingly devoted to the public sphere working with artists, curators, and with journalists, writing op-eds and giving frequent interviews in English and Spanish, co-organizing and co-teaching Summer Schools in Middelburg, Bremen, and at UNC-Duke. He is also frequently delivering workshops for faculty and graduate students in South and Central America, Asia, and Europe.

Mignolo was awarded the Katherine Singer Kovaks prize (MLA) for The darker side of the renaissance: literacy, territoriality and colonization (1996) and the Frantz Fanon Prize by the Caribbean Philosophical Association for The Idea of Latin America (2006). His work has been translated into German, Italian, French, Swedish, Rumanian, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Korean. He is an Honorary Research Associate for CISA (Center for Indian Studies in South Africa), Wits University at Johannesburg. Recently, he has joined the Dialogue of Civilizations (DOC) Program Council as a senior adviser and was distinguished with an Honoris Causa degree in the Humanities (Filosofia y Letras) by the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.







  • Ph.D., Ecole Des Hautes Etudes (France) 1973

Mignolo, WD. "The De-Colonial Option and the Meaning of Identity in Politics." Studies in Honor of Heitor Martins. Indiana University, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, 2007. 11-31.

"Geopolíticas del conocimiento y diferencia colonial." Geopolíticas de la Animación: Catalogo de Exposición de Arte, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo. Ed. ED Ose. Trans. WD Mignolo. Sevilla, España: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Andaluz, 2007. 12-39 and 90-116-12-39 and 90-116.

Mignolo, W, and Tlostanova, M. "The Logic of Coloniality and the Limits of Postcoloniality." The Postcolonial and the Global. Ed. J Hawley and R Krishnaswamy. University of Minnessota Press, 2007.

Mignolo, WD. "The Many Faces of Cosmo-Polis: Border Thinking and Critical Cosmopolitanism." The ’Universal’ in Human Rights: A Precondition for a Dialogue of Cultures. Ed. C Mendez. UNESCO-University Candido Mendes, 2007. 225-278.

Mignolo, WD, and Tlostanova, M. "Double Critique: Knowledges and Scholars at Risk in Post-Soviet Societies." Ed. W Mignolo and M Tlostanova. July 2006. 479-662.

Mignolo, WD. "Evo Morales, giro a la izquierda o giro descolonial?." Democracias en desconfianza. Ensayos de Sociedad Civil y Política en América Latina. Montevideo. Ed. JD Cruz. Montevideo: Editorial Coscoroba, March 2006. 93-116.

Mignolo, WD. "Museums in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity." Proceeding, Annual CIMAM Conference (International Association of Museums of Modern Art). Ed. BO CIMAM. Museum of Modern Art, Barcelona, 2006.

Mignolo, WD. "Postoccidentalismo: Las epistemologías fronterizas y el dilema de los estudios (latinoamericanos) de area." America Latina: Giro Optico. Nuevas visiones desde los estudios literarios y culturales. Ed. IS Prado. Puebla: Universidad de las Americas, 2006. 191-218.

Mignolo, WD. "El giro gnoseológico decolonial: la contribución de Aimé Césaire a la geopolítica y la corpo-política del conocimiento." Aimé Césaire, Discurso sobre el Colonialismo. Ed. CPD Campo. Madrid, Spain: Editorial Akal, 2006. 197-221.

Mignolo, W. "9) Africanity, Indianity, Latinity: Racism and the Colonial Matrix of Power." Ltinité et identité Haitienne: Entre la Tradition et la modernité. Ed. C Mendes. Rio de Janeiro: Universidade Candido Mendes, September 2005. 50-73.


Mignolo, W. "Latin American Cultural Studies?." Revista Iberoamericana (2002).

Mignolo, W. "Géopolitique de la connaissance, colonialité du pouvoir et différence coloniale." Multitudes (September 2001): 56-71. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "La revolución teórica del zapatismo: sus consecuencias históricas, éticas y políticas." Orbs Tertius: Revista de Teoría y Critica Literaria 5 (February 2000).

Mignolo, W. "The Role of the Humanities in the Corporate University." MLA publication (2000). (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "Colonialidad del poder y subalternidad." Hueso Humero 36 (2000): 91-119. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, WD. "Coloniality at large: Knowledge at the late stage of the modern/colonial world system." Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research 5.2 (December 1999): 1-10. Full Text

Mignolo, W. "Philosophy and the Colonial Difference." Philosophy Today (section: Is There a Latin American Philosophy?) 43 (1999): 36-41. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "I am where I think: Epistemology and the Colonial Difference, a debate with Peter Hulme apropos of The Darker Side of the Renaissance." Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 8 (1999): 234-248. (Academic Article)

Mignolo, W. "Espacios geográficos y localizaciones epistemológicas o la ratio entre la localización geográfica y la subalternizacion de conocimientos." Brazil: Proceedings of the 5th Congress of Comparative Literature, 91-96 1 (1998): 11-32. (Academic Article)


Mignolo, WD. "The communal and the declonial." Ed. R Nunes. Turbulence. Ideas for Movement 5 (November 2009): 29-31.

Mignolo, WD. "Grenzdenken un die decoloniale Option." Ed. J Kastner. Bildpunk (November 2009).

Mignolo, WD, and Escobar, A. "Globalization and the Decolonial Option." (September 2009): pp. 415-pp. 415.

Mignolo, WD, and Oto, AD. "La teoria politica en la encrucijada descolonial." (July 2009): 160-160.

Mignolo, WD. "At the end of the university as we know it." (May 17, 2009). (Blog)

Mignolo, WD. "Retorica del desarollo y colonialidad del saber." Pagina 12 (Newspaper, Buenos Aires) (May 15, 2009). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mignolo, WD, and Grzinic, M. "Delinking Epistemology from Capitalism and Pluriversality." Reartikulacija 6.6 (March 2009): 1-3. (Interview)

Mignolo, WD. "Barack y Evo." Pagina 12, News Paper, Buenos Aires, Argentina (December 6, 2008). (Scholarly Commentary)

Mignolo, WD. "La llaga latinoamericana. Entrevista con Claudio Pereda Madrid." Diario La Nacion (September 30, 2008). (Interview)